In today’s world, reducing energy bills with enhanced efficiency has become increasingly important. Staggeringly, our energy bills have more than doubled since 2004 and on average; households are spending in excess of £1,300 annually.

There are many ways to reduce your energy bills and you could focus on your home’s heat or electricity consumption when tackling this.

However, one of the most cost effective measures for improving home energy efficiency is by improving the lighting. Typically, 18% of a household’s electricity bill can be accounted to lighting and simple upgrades are a quick and easy way to save money.

In most homes there’s a combination of standard bulbs and spotlights. Fortunately, there’s an energy efficient alternative to both and you can save a great deal with a straightforward swap.

Replacing Your Light Bulbs

In the UK, you can get your hands on two types of energy efficient light bulbs. These are Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

If you’re looking for something cost effective, CFLs are your best bet. You’ve probably seen them advertised on TV or even know someone with them. They’ll take a couple of seconds to light up the room, but this minimal wait ensures you’re saving money each year and using far less energy.

These energy saving light bulbs can be picked up from most supermarkets and you can quickly swap the old traditional bulb, for the new energy efficient one. For each bulb replaced it’s estimated you can save up to £3 a year, or £50 over the light bulb’s life expectancy.

The other option is LED lighting, particularly when it comes to replacing spotlights in your home. There’s the slight downfall in they’re a little more expensive to initially invest in, but due to enhanced energy efficiency will save you more money. If you replace every halogen downlighter in your home with LED lighting, there’s the potential to save £30 annually on electricity bills.

What Light Fitting Do You Need?

Before replacing your lighting with energy efficient upgrades, it’s important to know which fitting is right. The last thing you want is to buy light bulbs, which won’t match the fitting. There are hundreds of light fittings to choose from but in most UK homes, there are only a few variants used.

If you’re replacing a light bulb in the ceiling, the chances are it’ll be different to one found in a bedside lamp. As such, double check before purchasing a replacement.

Below you can find the six most common light bulb fittings in the UK. Take a look and you’re sure to recognise a few of them.

What Shape Light Bulb is Best?

Arbitrary bulbs: These are the most common light bulbs found in the UK and are present in many households. Otherwise known as A bulbs, the number following will denote the glass width in eighths of an inch.

Spot bulbs: There are two options to consider in this regard; GU10 and MR16. Narrow beams offer concentrated light, whilst the wider bulbs will provide a greater spread.

Reflector bulbs: Reflector bulbs have a number of advantages such as providing better beam control, with a white light that’s suited for many homes.

Candle bulbs: These bulbs are the perfect replacement to power hungry traditional bulbs and can be used for walls, lamps and as decoration. They last for around 20,000 hours.

Stick bulbs: Stick bulbs are designed for a long life expectancy, saving loads of money on electricity bills and lasting for 10 years. They provide a soft and warm white light.

Spiral bulbs: These have the benefit of low energy consumption and provide outstanding brightness. These spiral bulbs will help you save money whilst lasting for a decade.

Globe bulbs: Globe bulbs are often used in restoration projects, having an antique feel to them. Ideally you’d consider a globe bulb for specialty and restoration lighting projects, vanities and pendant fixtures.

If your light bulb is throwing light in the wrong direction, this can cause issues in the room. Therefore, it pays to contemplate the shape before you go ahead and make the purchase.

Reducing Electricity Consumption

When it comes to reducing your electricity bill with lighting, it doesn’t always have to be about switching the bulbs. Another way to save money is to start using your lights more efficiently. This would include:

Lighting products

Of course, your other option is efficient lighting – which has started to become the norm as opposed to inefficient bulbs.
Fortunately, there is now a range of products to choose from as popularity increases and the technology develops.

Go to chapter 2: The Recycling & Disposal Of Old Light Bulbs